Archive for the ‘Kiefer Sutherland’ Category

MOVIE: Martyrs (2008)

October 22, 2009

martyrsThis was another film I picked up off the local video store’s “Recommended for Halloween” shelf.  But I think this French film is going to be extremely hard to describe in a way that truly conveys WHY I found it so incredibly powerful, because it cannot be described without detail of the absolutely ASTONISHING amount of violence and gore, if only to serve as a warning to you guys.

And yet, at its root, this film is actually one of the most heart-wrenching, thought-provoking movies I have ever seen.  Almost beautiful, certainly incredibly powerful, it’s a story I would describe as being primarily about women and trauma, and the amazing resilience sometimes found therein.

[NOTE:  SPOILERS are contained below, so skip the review if you think you are going to watch this.  But don’t skip all of it — go down to the very bottom and read the very last paragraph, because if you are going to rent this movie based on my recommendation, that paragraph is mandatory reading from my perspective.]

This film opens fifteen years ago with a young girl (Lucie), maybe 12 or so years old, found running half-naked and covered in blood, howling, through the streets of an industrial area in some unidentified French town.  She is discovered and hospitalized, and it becomes clear she has been the long-term victim of systematic  torture and abuse (not sexual, but utterly heinously physical).  At first, she can barely communicate, but she eventually makes friends with a younger fellow patient, Anna, and over time, they become extremely close.

Cut to fifteen years later, with a nice family at home having breakfast:  a mom, dad, and their two teenagers, sitting around the table joking and joshing the way loving families do.  Suddenly, an adult Lucie bursts through the front door and shoots all four of them in the chest point-blank with a shotgun.  She then calls Anna who, horrified, shows up to help.  Lucie has long been haunted (in her mind) by the “ghost” of a girl she’d also seen being tortured one room over when she was a captive, a girl she’d had to leave behind.  That “ghost” slices Lucie with a razor at every chance — but Anna knows it’s really just Lucie mutilating herself.  And so, knowing her friend is crazy, she doesn’t fully believe her when Lucie insists the parents she’s just killed were the same people who assaulted her as a child.

When Lucie realizes Anna doesn’t believe her — not even now — she lets the ghost take her life.  Devastated, Anna can’t bring herself to leave the house — or Lucie’s body — for another full day.  Just as she’s about to leave, though, she stumbles across a hidden room in the house that leads down to a horror chamber just like the one Lucie had described.

What happens next is virtually indescribable, and completely unstomachable.  Another victim, a new round of attacks, and the most astonishingly graphic violence I have EVER seen on film.  Absolutely the very definition of “horror,” in fact.

And yet, this film was impossible to stop watching, much as I desperately, desperately wanted to turn it off.  The two stars (Anna and Lucie) are amazing, for one thing.  Anna’s expressions of love, fear, care, horror, and more for her broken, broken friend Lucie are among the most powerful emotions I’ve seen expressed by an actress in anything ever.  And the entire concept of the “martyr” (defined by the movie as a “witness”), was intensely powerful as well (even while the actual set-up for the martyrdom made little sense to me — for those who have seen the film, if the thing witnessed by Anna was, in fact, the group’s ultimate goal, why didn’t they just do what Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts did in Flatliners?  That would’ve been much more effective, in terms of their ultimate goal, right?  Though it I guess it wouldn’t have been as sickly satisfying for them.  Maybe that’s the explanation.).

I kept thinking, actually, that this is a movie Eli Roth really needs to watch.  Because this is what he needed to do with Hostel — he focused too much on the sick thrill of the violence (which, frankly, seems almost laughably tame compared to the violence in this film), and not nearly enough on the actual emotions, motivations, and ultimately the incredible resilience of his movie’s survivors.  By comparison, Hostel seems downright childish to me.  Vacuous.

This movie isn’t really about the violence at all, as much of it though there is.  It is, in essence, a movie about survival.  And the horror that comes AFTER you’ve survived — AFTER you’ve “witnessed.”  The torment.  The suffering.  And ultimately, the strength.   And god, hopefully:  the calm.

Absolutely astonishing.   Really.  Truly.  Astonishing.

And people?  In case I have not stressed this enough, LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW:  this is an UNRATED movie that contains HORRIFICALLY GRAPHIC VIOLENCE.  This is your warning.  I am serious.  You have been warned.  Children should not be around when you watch this.  I’m not even sure YOU should be around when you watch this.  I probably should not have been around when I watched this.  Except that, to be honest, I really needed to watch this.  Those in the know might understand why.  Hello, perspective.  Nice to meet you.

Check back next week for a review of another French horror movie (turns out they make a lot of them!), which I hope will be as good in some ways and not as good in others.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Horror, Foreign
Cast:  Mylène Jampanoï, Morjana Alaoui, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin, Patricia Tulasne


MOVIE: Mirrors (2008)

February 27, 2009

mirrorsI actually watched this movie weeks ago, but didn’t get around to writing the review for it until today because, well. . . meh.

And at this point, I confess I barely remember anything about this one because, well. . . meh.

What I do remember is that it stars Kiefer Sutherland as an ex-cop takes a night-job as a security guard at a department store that used to be a psychiatric hospital and was recently gutted by a fire.  Lots of bad stuff happened in that thar building, in other words, and not of it had to do with sales on acid-washed jeans.

Anyway, Kief soon begins to believe the mirrors in the store are out to get him, which they sort of are, except that it turns out not to be the mirrors so much as the escaped demon from the nun lady who was treated for multiple-personality disorder in the store way back when it was a hospital and she was a little girl.  Luckily, even though the hospital was later converted into said store, said store apparently never went down to their own basement, which rather conveniently leaves Kief with the perfect way to solve the problem he’s having with the crazy mirrors.

You see, down in the basement there’s this crazy spinning mirror treatment room — the very same crazy spinning mirror treatment room that the hospital used in an attempt to make the nun lady merge her multiple personalities into a single self, only it kind of backfired when it turned out she didn’t have multiple personality disorder at all, but instead was POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL.  Whoopsie!

Now Kief knows he has to track down the nun lady and get her back in that crazy spinning mirror treatment room, or else the mirrors will, like, destroy the planet.  Or something like that.   I mean, honestly, this movie made less sense than that song “American Pie” by Don McLean.  And, as everyone knows, that song makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.

So, you should be surprised when I now confess I didn’t find this movie to be absolutely unwatchably bad, despite its many myriad flaws.  In fact, I not only watched this movie, I watched ALL of this movie, which is not something I can say about the other two movies I rented that same weekend.  Kief looks good, the effects are decent, etc.  In other words, if it sounds like your kinda thing and you don’t get all het up when you’re asked to suspend so much disbelief you’ve practically invented a new religion, go for it.  You could do a lot worse.

And as evidence of that, I bring you the movie that’ll be reviewed here tomorrow:  Yeti:  Curse of the Snow Demon.  Stay tuned for the hilarious details of that total stinker, as well as some extremely nostalgic drooling over the great Peter DeLuise, of 21 Jump Street and Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon “fame.”  (Dang, he still looks gooooooo-oood!)

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Horror
Cast:  Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Amy Smart, Jason Flemyng

Actual Boyfriends in the News Post!

October 16, 2007

Since I named this blog “Boyfriends in the News,” I figured maybe it was about time I actually posted some news about old Boyfriends of the Week.

For example, did y’all hear about Kiefer Sutherland?  He just pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of DUI (arrested in September) and violation of his five-year probation (a sentence granted after his DUI arrest in 2006).  Whoopsie!  Now rumors say he may serve up to EIGHTEEN WHOLE DAYS in jail. 

Dude, I’ve seen 24 — I know what can happen to that man in a single day.  So I can only imagine what EIGHTEEN of them in the slammer is going to be like.  I feel bad for his cellmate, who will surely be killed by a noxious gas or deadly virus right off the bat.   That’ll teach him a lesson about recidivism. . .

Maybe they should see if Wentworth “Permasmirk” Miller can cameo in season 7 of 24?  Set it in Panama, have it be about breaking out of prison, and see if we can’t get 24 to jump the shark AGAIN this year?

I also have some news about Adrien Brody that’s kind of interesting.  He’s just signed on to do a sci-fi movie called Spliced that’ll be about a scientist who makes funky new creatures by combining human and animal DNA.  I’ve always said Adrien had a beak for a nose. . . typecasting?  You be the judge.

This week’s Entertainment Weekly issue, by the way, is the annual “photo” one, which typically features lots of lovely photographs of all the celebrities they’ve written about in the last year.  Many of those celebrities tend to be ex- or future-Boyfriends, so I always enjoy this issue.  Until this year, anyway.  This year, they decided to feature fewer photos of people, and more photos of stuff we could care less about, like the gas station in Little Miss Sunshine, a pair of eyeglasses from To Kill a Mockingbird (that’s my favorite film, and I STILL don’t feel the need to see a photo of those eyeglasses), and Forest Gump’s leg brace.  Seriously?  The photo of the LMS gas station was a TWO-PAGE spread, for pity’s sake.  It must’ve been a dry year for EW’s photo department, huh?

In fact, I dare say the only interesting photo in the entire batch was the one of Matthew McConaughey. . . WEARING A SHIRT.  A rare moment, captured on film for all eternity.  The rest of the issue?  A total wash.